Saturday, May 31, 2008

Hola from Puerto Vallarta

Bound and determined to continue to take vacations - even with an infant - we ventured off again, this year, to a week of sun in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We invited several friends and family members with children to join us, the adults all came, but left their children home. Hmmm, wonder why? Fortunately for us, this left us with another 6 sets of watchful eyes to monitor our little one's every move...and move she did. From the time she woke up until she fell into bed, one could find her progressively tanned tiny body in constant motion.

The trip was exhausting, but an absolute blast. Devi loved the ocean, sand, pool and all the guests. I think she walked up and said "HI" to just about everyone at the Vallarta Palace Resort. Naturally, most thought she was Hispanic which lead into an easy conversation to correct them about where she was born and how we came to be a family. We were met with positive comments the whole trip and met some very nice people from all over the US and Mexico along the way.

Having a child in a hotel room presents some interesting challenges. Right after we arrived, we baby-proofed the space and were wondering how we would manage with a bassinet sized crib for a child who basically runs a marathon in her sleep, when the phone rang. We both stood frozen as we witnessed our child picking up the phone and saying "Hello" into the receiver. We still have no idea how she knew to do this as the phone looked nothing like ours at home. Normally a sound sleeper, we were awaken several times during the trip in the middle of the night to view, through our tired blurry eyes, our bed-headed daughter peering over the top the the crib saying "Hi momma" while waving hello. She has always slept in her own room, so seeing us in the night must have been a great surprise? By the end of the trip, we had wised up and made the jacuzzi tub, which was open to the rest of the room, into a make shift bed for her to have a bit more room to roll around which helped her sleep a bit more soundly.

Most fascinating to both Pat and I was watching Devi explore a plethera of firsts on the trip. it feels under your bare feet. How it sticks to your hands no matter how hard you shake them. How it tastes. How it squishes through your toes when a wave rushes past. She was definitely not short on her emotional display of feelings and it makes my cheeks hurt from smiling, even now, to recall the moments.

We witnessed her explosion of vocabulary on this trip also. Devi was
captivated by the foam of the ocean....Bubbles! she would chant. Lunch times were spent at the resort's little grass shack where she ate her first hot dog. Hot dog! Isn't it just plain fun to say? Late afternoon cream - now there is something that when said loud and clear brings a grand prize....especially when followed by "please"!! Swim, doose (juice), gaca (guacamole), glsess (glasses) and drass (grass) were some of the other words she surprised us with. She has mastered the concept of peoples names too. We traveled with Neice (Denise), Bn (Ben), Markkk (Mark pronouced with emphasis on the K), Nanneee (Nancy) and also had a couple of overlap days with Nannin (Aunt Shannon) and Gorsh (Uncle George). Devi has also started to call herself by name...Dee Dee!

I would guess that 80% of our day was spent in the pool. She got braver and braver as the week progressed, jumping in from the edge and going under water were met with a smile and the sign for more, more when she surfaced, by the end of the trip. Devi also mastered drinking from a straw which she is still extremely proud of.

As for daddy and me, this trip was extremely different. There were no carefree naps taken in a pool side lounger and we didn't arrive home with a stack of completed paperbacks to cross off our reading lists. We also didn't burn the midnight oil in the resort disco recalling 80's dance moves, although two of our friends generously babysat for us one night so we could enjoy an evening of fine dining and dancing which was so sweet of them and totally unexpected. Daddy and Devi did score major points with momma when they presented me with a day at the spa for a wonderful massage for Mother's day which is an indulgence I have rarely experienced, but am growing quite fond of :)

For us, just spending 8 days and 7 nights playing with Devi was a vacation so worth the effort to take. We just plain played hard all day...with no worries about going to work, what
to cook, doing laundry, or cleaning house. A complete break from outside stresses - a true rejuvenation! We can't wait to plan the next get-away, but need to rest up first :)

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


First time touching dirt!

Such a good helper!

Happy Mother's Day, momma!

Mother - that's me - loves flowers, so part of my Mother's Day gift was planting a few spots of color around the house. It is so nice to finally have turned the corner into spring. It was Devi's first encounter with dirt. She loved it. At daycare she made me the nicest kitchen tea towel with her hand prints on it. It, of course, will never be used...only admired! :)

Talking up a storm, Devi has mastered several new words. To the untrained ear, they probably sound like mere utterings of babble, but to this baby linguist they are, in fact, actual words! To her vocabulary list, she's added:
happy (usually said several times like a chant)


quack (sounds like cat)
Cayenne (sounds like ay ann)
hum (sounds like ahuma)
belly button (sounds like bulla bulla)

please (sounds like pls)
knuckles (which is followed by banging knuckles with another person like a hand shake)
delicious (sounds like a mouth full of marbles with ish ush and the end)
and countless others that pop up on a daily basis. She sometimes calls for daddy yelling Pat, which is hilarious.

The mischief maker in action.

The cutest of all has to be the word she says with the most conviction and loudest voice. Amen! which really sounds like All-me! She waits until we finish grace at meals and shouts it out or else you can hear her running through the house saying it over and over again. We are waiting...imagining that hallelujah mu
st be next?

Following what is happening in the International adoption world has been extremely difficult lately. I would like to think that the recent upheaval is part of an effort to improve the processes for all that are concerned. In many cases, I believe this to be true however, as Pat and I consider building our family in this way for a second time, we've been met by nothing but road blocks and difficulty. Partly due to our ages and partly because of the changes in international governmental rules, the door to this opportunity seems to be closing a little more for us each day. If only this process was as simple as matching a willing couple with a child waiting for a forever family, but it is not that easy. As we've become more educated about different agencies, countries and processes, we've also encountered numerous stories of heart ache as the result of less than reputable adoption agencies in the United States as well as orphanages in all countries. Most difficult to hear are the stories of those who have come to love a particular child only to be caught in the
middle of governmental disputes leaving them longing for that child whom they will never be united with. They did their homework, just as we did, but somehow, due to circumstances beyond their control their outcome was so very different. This eye opening information, that we somehow managed to be spared from while pursuing our first adoption, has made us realize how incredibly lucky we are to have our daughter. Just as the miracle of birth calls for near perfect conditions in the womb to produce a child, so does the circumstances surrounding an international adoption. For our Devi, we feel so deeply blessed and daily say All-me....I mean Amen!!!

Bite, momma, bite!